V4 Panigale Clutch Fade Problems

Jul 2019
155
45
Amsterdam
.. they also replaced the fluid with a high temp race spec.
This is exactly what my Ducati dealer also suggested doing at next service.
According to them 'Race spec' clutch oil remedies this 'boiling' issue for many (not all?) in most cases.

Indeed additionally REAL proper bleeding as @stealthblack is teaching us, might still be additionally required to cover for all suffering this issue?

Still why doesn't Bologna create a (forced) RCL or revise its existing TSB (i.e. hose only) for this potentially dangerous issue or at least actively advice dealers to also replace the OEM clutch-fluid with a WSBK/MotoGP alternative?

Makes sense to me to only put heat-resistant racing grade fluids in it, since all 1000cc+ Pani's are WSBK homologations and V4 is even a MotoGP derivative.
They obviously suffer even more if proper airflow -to cool them down- is absent when in city traffic!:D

Really, when this happened to me for the first time it was in the morning at cold start.
Ignorant and unaware of the issue at hand, the bike started rolling immediately.
All I could do with an almost fully engaged engine dragging the bike forward, was braking to force the bike to stop and stall the engine.
The alternative to engine key or kill-switch it off, would have have stopped the bike too abrupt I reckoned?
If I had only slightly panicked while dodging the pillars in that dark garage trying to stop the bike... :eek:
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DucatiKev
May 2019
41
11
Portland, Oregon
Today riding my V4s through busy city traffic, as the bike got toasty the clutch-lever got progressively more mushy to the point of barely disengaging.

Luckily I could quickly dail-in a few clicks more travel on my adjustable EP clutch lever, to increase the distance to grip for maximizing the remaining functional travel.

Funny enough after it cooled down for an hour or so, away to an exhibition, when I returned most of the fade was gone and no need to bleed the master cylinder with wrench-no.11 as I was required to do before once.

Again, after 45 minutes of trouble free highway cruising, back in slow traffic the progressive clutch fade started again. Within 15 minutes, I barely had any functional clutch-function left just enough to make it home.

The TSB for a narrower clutchhose between master- and slave cylinder is already installed on my V4S.

If clutch travel returns after cool-down of the V4 and fade only occurs during slow traffic, is this also a reason to replace the clutch its master- a/o slave cylinder?

This ^^ happens to me on almost every ride. I've bled the clutch, next ride it still happens. Adjusting hand lever to compensate for the issue is the only thing that gets me home. And just like you, it's downtown city stop/go traffic situations where it all goes wrong on me.
 
Aug 2018
36
20
Hillsboro, OR
I had the same problem Fosterelli. I had the recall/SB completed earlier and still it felt like I had a clutch fade issue in traffic, parking lots, etc. I paid Motocorsa to flush the system and it was still an issue. Took it back and they replaced the clutch slave cylinder. Works 100% better now. They said it was leaking.
 
Aug 2019
16
4
Arizona
I had the same problem Fosterelli. I had the recall/SB completed earlier and still it felt like I had a clutch fade issue in traffic, parking lots, etc. I paid Motocorsa to flush the system and it was still an issue. Took it back and they replaced the clutch slave cylinder. Works 100% better now. They said it was leaking.
This is a completely different issue. If the slave cylinder is leaking it will produce a fade because there is no pressure.
 
Aug 2019
16
4
Arizona
This is exactly what my Ducati dealer also suggested doing at next service.
According to them 'Race spec' clutch oil remedies this 'boiling' issue for many (not all?) in most cases.

Indeed additionally REAL proper bleeding as @stealthblack is teaching us, might still be additionally required to cover for all suffering this issue?

Still why doesn't Bologna create a (forced) RCL or revise its existing TSB (i.e. hose only) for this potentially dangerous issue or at least actively advice dealers to also replace the OEM clutch-fluid with a WSBK/MotoGP alternative?

Makes sense to me to only put heat-resistant racing grade fluids in it, since all 1000cc+ Pani's are WSBK homologations and V4 is even a MotoGP derivative.
They obviously suffer even more if proper airflow -to cool them down- is absent!:D

Really, when this happened to me for the first time it was in the morning at cold start.
Ignorant and unaware of the issue at hand, the bike started rolling immediately.
All I could do with an almost fully engaged engine dragging the bike forward, was braking to force the bike to stop and stall the engine.
The alternative to engine key or kill-switch it off, would have have stopped the bike too abrupt I reckoned?
If I had only slightly panicked while dodging the pillars in that dark garage trying to stop the bike... :eek:
Does anyone have a clue what is 'race spec' is?
Its just brake fluid so what would would the next step be?
 
  • Like
Reactions: DucatiKev
Jul 2019
155
45
Amsterdam
Does anyone have a clue what is 'race spec' is?
Its just brake fluid so what would would the next step be?
my Bella is now at dealer for annual service.
Once done I'll ask for which brand and special 'racing' type they replaced the standard clutch oil with...
 
  • Like
Reactions: DucatiKev
Jul 2019
155
45
Amsterdam
Does anyone have a clue what is 'race spec' is?
Its just brake fluid so what would would the next step be?
They've put Motul RBF660 in as clutch fluid.

This type is supposed to be more resistant to the high running temperatures of the V4 engine and the issue that this access heat - although still within design specification according to Bologna(?!) - is being poorly released by the standard V4 fairing being (too?) narrow/tight.

Dealership mechanic also confirmed that the new R fairings, on all V4 Pani's from 2020 onwards, provide upto 30% better cooling effect to the engine. :eek: Because of this massive improvement, Bologna even installs a smaller waterpump on the 998cc R version compared to the standaard 1103cc V4(S) engine version.

He confirmed to me that the wider airy fairing will probably also fix the ‘heat invoked’ clutch fade issue.

Too bad swopping our original V4 fairing for the R version puts us back Eur2000/USD2400....
 
Last edited:
Nov 2018
153
85
NZ
Who uses the clutch? That is so last year :)

Also 30% better cooling is marketing hype, compared to what? The clutch issue is common between models, its air getting into the system and not heat related, brake fluid can handle far greater temps than the ambient engine heat in the fairing.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DucatiKev
Jul 2019
155
45
Amsterdam
Also 30% better cooling is marketing hype, compared to what? The clutch issue is common between models, its air getting into the system and not heat related, brake fluid can handle far greater temps than the ambient engine heat in the fairing.
As I understand from my Ducati tech: the wider and more open R fairing results in upto 30% lower operating temperatures compared to the original Pani V4 fairing.

Right. clutchfade because of gas accumulation in the semi-closed clutch system, as a result, seems to have multiple root-causes. leaking of faulty master a/o slave pressure cylinder is for sure one of the diagnosed reasons.

I'm not a chemist but according to my Ducati tech another "˜access heat' related reason is:

"any oil is in essence a carbo (C) hydrogen (H) based molecule structure with -depending on their variant- attached oxygen (O) molecules.

Due to access heat, beyond the specification of the oil used, it boils, bonds and frees gas bubbles (O2?) from its oily substance. This can happen even within a perfectly closed and properly air bled system. These separated tiny gas bubbles - being lighter than fluid - rise to the highest point in the clutch system: around the master cylinder. If master cylinder (e.g. due to incorrect setup/ dirt/ misc malfunction) is not able to release these gases properly, over time they form a growing gas bubble within the master cylinder, resulting in progressively worsened clutch-fade"


So in this case actually 2 root-causes combined create clutch-fade.

Having the more "˜airy' R fairing enables the "˜hot by design' V4 engine to shed off its heat easier, resulting in lower operating temperatures which also keeps oil in clutch system easier with specification with no/less tendency to form access heat invoked gasses.

Does this make sense to you?
Chemists amongst us, please confirm and amend!
 
Jun 2019
9
2
Houston
Chemical engineer. I would disagree with the above diagnosis. At some point even with the fluid being hot because of inadequate cooling all the oxygen would boil out if it’s dissolved. if it’s chemically being released (cracking) the same thing would happen. Over time the oxygen coming to the surface dwindles to zero with repeated bleeding if no new oxygen is admitted to the system. It’s just a simple mass balance. the repeated bleeding users experience would eventually solve the issue. For it to be a to a continuing issue new oxygen has to be getting admitted to the system. That’s my two cents anyway and it’s only worth what you paid for it.

More likely it’s new air or moisture entering the system. Whether that be the master, slave, or hoses I’m not sure in your cases. Hydraulics aren’t complicated though.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person